In the United States, roughly 37.5 million adults have some level of hearing loss. Yet according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), only 20 percent of those who could benefit from hearing aids actually use them. That suggests that millions of Americans who could improve their life with better hearing choose not to do so.
And that’s not all.
After being told that they need hearing aids, people wait an average of 5-7 years before actually purchasing them—which is too bad, because for those that do decide to wear hearing aids, the results are overwhelmingly favorable.
Several studies have found that using hearing aids improves relationships, improves general physical and mental health, and even boosts household income, as discovered by the Better Hearing Institute.
Unfortunately, 80 percent of those who could use hearing aids will never see these advantages. And of those who do, it’s a shame that they have to wait way too long.
The question is: if people are delaying 5-7 years before acquiring a hearing aid, what is eventually convincing them to do so? And if we understood the reasons, would it prompt us to deal with our own hearing loss quicker?
With that in mind, we’ve gathered the most common “triggers” that have prompted our patients to finally schedule a hearing test.
Here are the top five:
1. Not being able to hear the grandkids
Here’s one we’ve heard more than a couple times.
The thing about high-frequency hearing loss is that the sounds most difficult to hear are commonly higher-pitched. That makes the female voice and the voices of children particularly hard to understand.
For that reason, many people with hearing loss miss out on what their grandchildren are saying, or alternatively have to make them repeat themselves. Before too long, the grandkids begin evading the grandparents, and this provides a strong incentive to book a hearing test.
2. Strained relationships
Communication is the foundation of any healthy relationship, which is why hearing loss is so frustrating for both individuals.
If you have hearing loss, you may think everyone else mumbles, but your spouse probably thinks you talk too loud or “selectively listen.” This brings about tension, and before you know it, you find yourself in more arguments than normal.
Sadly, many people wait until their spouse is at a breaking point of frustration before arranging a hearing test. We’ve seen first-hand that lots of problems could have been avoided if hearing loss were attended to faster.
3. Feeling left out
How confident and interactive can you really be if you can’t understand what others are saying?
Many individuals with hearing loss lose their confidence and sociability when it’s easier to avoid the situation than it is to struggle to hear and understand what’s being said. This takes many people down a road of solitude.
It’s this experience of isolation—and missing out on social activities—that encourage people to pick up the phone and schedule a hearing test. And there are very few activities that hearing loss doesn’t impact in a detrimental way.
4. Being unproductive at work
We’ve heard several stories of people that reach their breaking point at the workplace. Frequently they’re at an important meeting and can’t hear their associates sitting across the table. They either have to disrupt the meeting to get people to speak louder or repeat themselves, or otherwise have to stay silent because they can’t follow along.
There’s a reason why wearing hearing aids is correlated with higher household income in those with hearing loss. If you have better hearing, you’re simply more self-confident and effective at work.
5. Concern about overall health and well-being
Last but not least, people are becoming progressively mindful of the health hazards associated with hearing loss. While there are several ailments tied to impaired hearing, the most worrying relationship is that between hearing loss and dementia. According to Johns Hopkins University researchers, seniors with hearing loss are significantly more likely to develop dementia over time than those who sustain their hearing.
What’s your reason?
The bottom line is that most people wait too long to deal with their hearing loss, despite the fact that the majority of hearing aid users state that their lives have been improved with better hearing.
If you use hearing aids, let us know the reason you made a decision to arrange your initial hearing test. Your response may result in helping someone in a similar circumstances to achieve the benefits of better hearing sooner rather than later.